Become a CASA Volunteer
Lift up a child’s voice, become a CASA volunteer today!
Thank you for your interest in becoming a court appointed special advocate with the Snohomish County CASA program. By advocating for an abused or neglected child, you give that child a voice – and a chance for a better life.
Who is the dependent child?
Dependent children are defined as those children who are under 18 years of age, who have no parent willing or able to care for them, or who are abandoned, abused, or neglected and under the care of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Children’s Administration. A court appointed special advocate may be appointed for these children to represent what is in their best interests to the court during the dependency process.
CASA Volunteer Duties:
The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is appointed by a judge, through the CASA Program of Snohomish County Superior Court, to serve as an advocate for the best interests of a child who is the subject of a Dependency proceeding in Superior Court. The primary duties of the CASA are:
Investigate: Collect relevant information about the child’s situation; gather objective, fact-based information about the child’s situation; review confidential, case related documents, speak with individuals related to the case (parents, relatives, caseworker, teachers, counselors, foster parents, doctors) and report to the court factual information regarding the best interests of the child;
Interview: To meet with, interview, or observe the child, depending on the child’s age and developmental status, and report to the court any views or positions expressed by the child on issues pending before the court;
Monitor: To monitor all court orders for compliance and to bring to the court’s attention any change in circumstances that may require a modification of the court’s order; To report to the court information on the legal status of a child’s membership in any Indian tribe or band;
Report: To complete, in a timely manner, written reports to the court that address the historical and current facts of the child’s situation, the CASA’s conclusions based on the facts, and the CASA’s recommendations to the court to serve the best interests of the child;
Recommendations: CASAs may make recommendations based upon an independent investigation regarding the best interests of the child, which the court may consider and weight in conjunction with the recommendations of all of the parties;
Advocate: To represent and be an advocate for the best interests of the child; attend all court hearings pertaining to the child, submit timely court reports, and attend case staffings.
Right to Counsel: To inform the child, if the child is twelve years old or older, of his or her right to request counsel and to ask the child whether he/she wishes to have counsel.
MINIMUM JOB REQUIREMENTS:
A Court Appointed Special Advocate must be at least 21 years of age, have a high school education, must possess a valid driver’s license and have access to transportation.
The CASA must complete an application form and authorize the CASA Program Staff to check at least three references unrelated to the applicant. The CASA must authorize and pass a criminal background check, which includes national, state, and local records checks, as well as a Child Protective Services (CPS) record check. The CASA Program Coordinator will interview qualified applicants to determine suitability for the training program and CASA volunteer position.
The prospective CASA must be comfortable speaking, reading and writing in the English language, be able to write coherent reports that are fact-based and logical in its conclusions and recommendations, and to assertively speak to the child’s best interests in court. The CASA must agree to perform the duties as described above, in an ethical and lawful manner, and consistent with the policies of the CASA Program, and in accordance with the Guardian ad Litem court rules and Washington State RCWs. The CASA must be willing to make a minimum commitment of staying with the Program for the duration of their assigned case.